Adidas sets aside rivalry to congratulate Nike and Eliud Kipchoge on Breaking2 attempt

Eliud Kipchoge

Nike may have come up short in breaking the two-hour marathon barrier, however Eliud Kipchoge’s astonishing time still surpassed all expectations and even led to rival Adidas paying its respects for helping the Kenyan run the distance faster than any human has ever done.

The Olympic marathon gold medallist ran the 26.2 miles around Monza F1 racing track in two hours 25 seconds, shaving over a minute and a half off Dennis Kimetto’s world record time at the 2014 Berlin Marathon.

While Kipchoge and Nike were unable to achieve the sub two-hour goal, the result suggests that one of sport’s holy grails is within touching distance.

The Breaking2 ‘moonshot’ generated a huge amount of media attention for the brand and has set a new precedent in running and sports marketing, so much so that Adidas publicly congratulated its greatest rival on social media.

Adidas will look to follow on from Nike’s attempt with its own ‘Sub2’ programme which it announced in February this year. Similar to Nike, the German brand has designed its own specialist shoe for the attempt, the Adizero Sub2, which is slated for release later this year.

Nike has long held the largest share of the running market with around $5bn in annual wholesale sales, however Adidas has begun closing the gap with its Boost running shoe which has helped the company achieve revenue growth averaging 15%, double Nike’s rate.

In light of the huge amount of media attention generated by Breaking2 and Kipchoge’s feat, Nike may well strengthen its hold on the running market though. The brand already earned a lot of media coverage in the Boston Marathon with the yet to be released VaporFly 4% being worn by five out of the top six men and women in the race.

Kipchoge and his fellow Breaking2 runners Lelisa Desisa and Zersenay Tadese helped ignite further marketing around the new VaporFly line when they wore their own custom-made versions of the shoes at Monza. Nike is continuing its marketing push around the new footwear, giving fans the chance to win a pair by running a sub 25-minute 5k using the Nike Running app on 14 May. It will then release three versions of the shoe next month.

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Tony Connelly

I cover media, marketing and sponsorship news within the sports industry. This includes breaking news as well as writing feature pieces with insights from experts in the sports marketing world.

All by Tony